The AFCON is set to kick off today with host Cameroon to take on Burkina Faso in the 60,000 capacity Olembe Stadium in the opening game of the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday (today).
Originally billed to take place in 2021, the competition was pushed back to 2022 due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which brought sporting activities to a halt but football fans across the continent are ecstatic about the start of the biannual competition.
Algerian referee, Mustapha Ghorbal, will be the man to officiate the opening game.
Cameroon who are hosting the competition for the second time will be hoping to win this edition to take their overall tally to six.
Speaking ahead of their opening game, head coach of the team, Toni Conceicao, says they’ve monitored their opponents who he believes are a fantastic side.
“We’ve been watching a few of Burkina Faso’s games and they have a good team.
“The opening game, whether it be at the World Cup, a championship in Cameroon, or a European Championship, is always difficult.”
“We feel that people are more demanding of the Indomitable Lions because of their history and what they’ve accomplished in the past: five African titles and the seven times they’ve been present in the World Cup.
“If we don’t, it will be difficult for us, the technical staff, to deal with the criticism, because people here don’t forgive failure.”
In the other Group A encounter scheduled for the Olembe Stadium, Ethiopia will take on high-rising Cape Verde.
The Confederation of African Football in other to ensure a smooth competition despite the surge in the cases of COVID-19 infections have stated that countries will be required to play a match if they have a minimum of 11 players who have tested negative, while in the absence of a goalkeeper, an outfield player from the team must replace the goalkeeper.